It's not a secret that female models are implored to drop excess pounds (or put pounds on) for fashion week(s). Sometimes, the requirements vary from show to show, meaning that while one client may ask you to drop five pounds, another may ask you for a toned-up physique. But what you might not know, is that male models face the same sizing requests.
Speaking to Fashionista, a selection of male models describe their own "requirements;" requests they've received from fashion houses, designers, and clients to give their bodies just the right look for the respective runway show or editorial. While we always see male models in an "Abercrombie & Fitch-esque" light, it's surprising to know that some guys aren't just asked to put the muscle on—they're asked to drop pounds like their female counterparts.
Perhaps the biggest issue relates to the different tastes between fashion weeks. As Roberto Sipos describes:
"You never know [if they’ll tell you to bulk up]. If you watch the shows in Paris, they’re all skinny. In Milan they still use bulked-up guys. In London it’s [both] skinny and muscle guys. In New York, it’s more looking like a man."
Yes, Paris does have the skinnier guys (looking at you Hedi Slimane and Saint Laurent Paris). Considering model Ryan Keaning notes that his leaner frame makes him "stronger in the European market," we see the discrepancy.
But it seems like the wider trend is about guys bulking up. And this is definitely something we can get behind—especially if it means eating more grilled cheese and pizza. As Tim Coppens' model, Gabriel True, explains:
"It’s a pretty body-centric industry. With a lot of boys like me who are naturally skinny and just don't have a lot of definition, they want you to be more muscular and toned. I never worked out because I’m naturally skinny so I’m like, 'Alright, I’ll eat just grilled cheese and pizza every single day.' I’m running and doing planks and core exercise.
But it's not just about the gaining and losing of weight. Most guys also need to keep an eye on their haircuts and overall "look." Some have to cut their hair upon client request. As Andre Bona, who walked in Todd Snyder's New York Fashion Week: Men's runway show, said about having his hair chopped off:
"It happens sometimes, usually when the client is important. One time I had to shave my head. That was in 2013."
Some models must undergo massive aesthetic overhauls, like Jake Lucas:
"I had to bleach my eyebrows. You can kind of still see it. With long hair, it changes a lot. A lot of the time they ask me to leave it natural; I'll wake up, have a shower, and it's fine. And then other times they'll curl it and go crazy for editorials and stuff. My first-ever editorial, they cut my hair to be the same as the girl's, so we both had hair up to here. [Gestures to just below his ears.] That was two years ago. Since then, I've never been asked to cut my hair. It's been long since I was a kid.
"No, it’s kind of the opposite. I’ve been trying to cut my hair and my agent is like, 'No, no don’t cut it!' I think he thinks that my hair is part of my 'look' so it’s kind of important to keep that."
Regardless of the guy, one thing is clear, modeling will always be in pursuit of achieving "the look."